June 8, 2011
For Fans Of: MGMT, Postal Service, Black Keys, Walkmen, Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons
Future Islands play music that sounds like it should be the sound-track to your dream right as it’s turning into a nightmare. I joked that the keyboardist and guitarist put up an ad on Craigslist to find a singer for their Postal Service cover band, but the only guy who showed up to audition listens to nothing but hardcore and death metal. Then they just said “fuck it, let’s go with it.”
Apparently one of the bands had car trouble on the way here, so the show got started a bit late. Of course, being the shittiest venue in town, the staff at the Royale made everyone wait in the sweltering-hot anteroom until 45 minutes after the show was supposed to start rather than letting the fans in to drink beer in the venue*.
Future Islands started the show off, and about 30 seconds into the first song the whole crowd was giving each other “what the fuck is this?” eyes. The band has only 3 members: one guy works the synth and drum machine, one guy plays the guitar with the mellowness of someone who looks like they played cello in high school, and the lead singer who jumps around stage while singing and literally punching himself the face. They play a weird blend of dream pop and hardcore nightmare music. The synth and guitar work sounds like it could come from an MGMT B-side, but the growl/scream vocals sound like they’re coming from another planet. Check out the track ‘Tin Man’ below:
This was my third time seeing Titus Andronicus, and my second time at the Royale. The last show they played they were headlining the show touring with Free Energy, and there were only about 65 people at the show. They sounded great last night, and I think having a packed house had a lot to do with their positive energy. When they were headlining for a lackluster crowd it seemed like they had a hard time filling the stage and the time, but last night they blasted through a (too short) 35 minute set and left the crowd begging for more. Their album ‘The Monitor’ was the best release in 2010, and if you don’t like them at first I highly recommend giving them a couple more listens. Their brand of post-punk indie rock can be a bit harsh for the uninitiated, but I guarantee that the payoff is well worth the effort. Listen to ‘A More Perfect Union’ below:
I had heard a lot about but listened very little to Okkervil River before last night, and after a stunning set last night I’m pretty disappointed I never really got into them. I’d heard a fair amount about them and I’d heard a lot of people whose taste I respect say they were great, so I bought tickets to the show hoping they’d show me something I’d never found in their recordings. The band more than delivered.
Lead by lead singer Will Sheff, the band plays a folky/alt-country indie rock that has come to define the Austin (their hometown) music scene. Their set mixed songs from all of their recordings, and the live performance brought a raw energy to a number of songs which I thought were pretty boring when I listened to them at home. I’m excited to start a new relationship with the band, although I’m not excited about the expense of diving into their surprisingly deep back catalog. You can listen to ‘Lost Coastlines’ here:
Overall, it was a pretty great show. The $5 Narragansett cans were a bit steep, and the Future Islands singer playing bare-assed was…interesting, but Titus Andronicus and Okkervil river both played phenomenal sets and I’d be happy to see both bands again. Cults play Brighton Music Hall this weekend, and if tickets aren’t sold out I’ll probably make my way over there. Maybe I’ll see you there!
*I absolutely hate the Royale and I wish my favorite bands would stop playing there. The shows are too early, the drinks are too expensive, and the staff clearly doesn’t give a shit about music. The venue looks beautiful, but it seems hardly worth the shit they put the fans through. Bands managers: The Middle East and Paradise Rock Club are both viable alternatives. The show will be much better and the crowd will thank you for it.